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Who is telling the truth? Beaches Resort denies cancelling mediation meeting; time for TRANSPARENCY

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#Providenciales, Turks and Caicos – November 3, 2020 — “Beaches did not cancel the mediation,” informed Beaches Resort in a statement issued to Magnetic Media just moments ago.  This latest media comment comes about 24 hours after local newspaper, TCI Sun published that Sharlene Robinson,  Turks and Caicos Premier and Finance Minister said the resort cancelled the November 18, 2020 mediation meeting.

Beaches has countered that it remains ready to negotiate in the near five-year old tax dispute.

“Beaches has always been and remains ready, willing and able to resolve this matter in a fair, equitable and transparent manner.  The tax matters and the breaches of Beaches Development Agreement, can be resolved in a day or two. This can be achieved only if there is a strong commitment, sincerity, good faith and capable decision makers sitting down together.  Our team continues to stand ready.”

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The volley of highly charged comments in the multi-million dollar row has played out in the public domain and has polorised people on the matter. 

Beaches Resort wants the mediation to begin now and suggests the process can be concluded before November 18.  November 18 is the day the resort, which employs nearly 2,000 people and which accounts for 70 percent of the country’s long stay visitors has set as its reopening amidst the coronavirus pandemic.  November 18 is also the day the TCI Government has said it would meet with the mediator in the Beaches Resort legal matter.

Now, the resort is calling on the TCI government to show the public a set of confidential communication.

“…since the TCIG now seems to have no issues speaking to the press, then it should let the people of the TCI and Beaches employees know the truth about the mediation. Let’s have full disclosure. We call on the TCIG to publish the letter dated October 29, 2020 which was sent to Beaches and which TCIG  wished to be treated as confidential, and to then also publish Beaches’ response.  Beaches consents to the publication of its letter.  Let the citizens decide for themselves.

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Let the people of the TCI know about Freedom of the Press unless TCIG wishes to take away their constitutional right.”

A second-time-around headline by the Turks and Caicos Weekly News ignited a firestorm of demands and comments.  A $76 million dollar possible tax write off made the news in 2019 when legislation and an amnesty related to the Hotel & Tourism Tax Ordinance was being debated. 

At that time, there was admission that the monies had accumulated as a result of government penalty charges.  House of Assembly members including three former finance ministers, namely:  Washington Misick, Royal Robinson and Derek Taylor supported ‘writing-off’ the accrued penalties. 

Beaches Turks and Caicos, the family all-inclusive brand owned by Sandals Resorts International explains, they were unaware of this news focus in2019,which again made news headlines over the weekend.

“Beaches also wishes to make it clear that is has never received a copy of any audit report and the first time Beaches knew of an alleged $76M tax write off was in the press.”

There was also this caution from Sandals Resorts executives, as this issue has become prime material as the Turks and Caicos inches closer to a general election.

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“Let us however be very clear.  Beaches will not allow its brand to be used for political propaganda or as a political football.  Beaches has no interest in playing politics. Our concern is for our team members and the citizens of the TCI.”

UPDATED & CORRECTED: The Attorney General, RhondaLee Braithwaite-Knowles informs late today she is in Turks and Caicos; though her automatic e-mail reply had previously informed that she was out of office, not necessarily out of the country, until November 9.  Earlier we reported that the AG was out of the country.

Magnetic Media, was in response to our questions about the mediation meeting, redirected by AG Braithwaite-Knowles to the Office of the Premier.

Magnetic Media is a Telly Award winning multi-media company specializing in creating compelling and socially uplifting TV and Radio broadcast programming as a means for advertising and public relations exposure for its clients.

Bahamas News

Sugar and salt tax campaigns gaining steam 

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer 

 

 

February 7, 2023 – A global battle on sugar and salt is ramping up as the United States joins The Bahamas and Barbados in creating proposals for historic sugar and salt laws.

The country’s Agricultural Department for the first time in history, proposed a cap on the amount of sugar to be allowed in school meals.

The World Health Organization has found that North America and the Caribbean have the highest rates of childhood diabetes in the world and based on the International Diabetes Federation’s Diabetes Atlas we also have the second highest prevalence of Diabetes overall for all global regions at 14 percent  or 51 million people with a projected 24 percent increase in just 22 years.

Barbados, the United States, Canada, Haiti, Mexico, Belize and St. Kitts and Nevis are all suffering from incredibly high rates of diabetes.

Barbados and The Bahamas announced sugar taxes last month; the hope is to reduce the importation and sale of sugar and salt rich foods.

Advocates across the Caribbean including Jamaica, Trinidad, and others have been campaigning for sugar taxes in their own countries with support from the public.

Now the proposed nutritional rules for the United States would set firm boundaries on how much salt and sugar can legally be added to meals, setting a new standard as most food imports for countries like The Bahamas are from the US.

The plan for the US is expected to be rolled out by 2025.

The rules, are unapologetically an attempt to cut down incidences of diabetes and other diseases fueled by unhealthy diets, according to media reports.

For now, the quantities on sugar and salt additives is an idea waiting wider consultation.

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Bahamas News

TCI Office in Bahamas identified 

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By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer 

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, February 7, 2023 – An office space has already been identified for an all-new TCI Immigration office in The Bahamas according to Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration and Border Services.

Musgrove told Magnetic Media that the ministry was “almost there” in regard to securing the space; it indicates the Government is moving full speed ahead with plans for the passing of the new Immigration Bill which will allow third-generation TC Islanders citizenship, even as the public awaits consultations on it.

The announcement of the bill had caused some skepticism among islanders, some of whom wanted the government to focus on keeping TC Islanders at home instead of recruiting others.  Musgrove however had made it clear that the TCI was in a population crisis and would need to slow down PRC naturalisation rates and naturalise people with historical, familial and cultural connections to the land or risk going ‘extinct’.

The office will work to deepen the relationship between the two sister countries even more and help increase the TCI’s population offsetting the need for masses of external labour according to the government.

When passed, the rule will apply to third-generation islanders everywhere, not only in The Bahamas giving them a free ticket to come home.

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Caribbean News

The Shore Club makes Travel + Leisure 

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By Dana Malcolm 

Staff Writer

 

 

#TurksandCaicos, February 7, 2023 – The Shore Club is the perfect place to escape the cold with your family according to well-known travel magazine, Travel + Leisure at least.  The Turks and Caicos resort was featured in the worldwide magazine’s January feature last month.

“It’s hard to overstate the grandness of our accommodations,” travel writer Hannah Selinger gushed as she described the luxurious Shore Club experience that retails for around $750 per night.

The resort owned by Stan Hartling, 2021 TCI Humanitarian of the Year, was lauded for its use of local materials including coral harvested in Long Bay on which the property resides.  The writer was particularly impressed with the expansive space and multiple amenities at the resort which even when significantly booked “never feels even remotely full”.

She described the food and the entirety of her experience as ‘extremely satisfying’.

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